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What is outstanding Governance?


What is outstanding Governance? Jo Matthews Jo Matthews - AoC National Leader of Governance Intelligence, incisiveness and an ability to identify the key issues and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is outstanding Governance?

What is outstanding Governance?
  • Jo Matthews

Outcomes of the session
  • To review various views of outstanding/good
    governance Ofsted/FE Commissioner/ Higgs review
    of NEDs
  • To reflect on how well you hold the senior team
    to account
  • To assess how well you do against the views of
    outstanding governance
  • To share some practice from across the sector

The Dynamics of Governance
  • People
  • What skills and experience you have on the board,
    and what other expertise you need. How well you
    work as a team with the senior leadership.
  • Position
  • Where the institution is on the journey to/or
    maintaining outstanding key priorities for
    governance and a risk based approach
  • A sustainable strategy. Knowing where you are
    going - what your institution will look like in
    ten years. Who you serve now and who you want to
    serve in the future. Meeting the needs of
    learners and responding to the diversity of your

What your role is one sentence?
  • Task one

  • Boards are social systems. The most effective
    boards invest time and energy in the development
    of mature relationships and ways of working.
    Its not rules and regulations its the way
    people work together.
  • Jeffrey Sonnefield Professor Harvard Business

  • My take
  • Holistic governance / systems governance
  • Taking charge of the agenda
  • A risk based approach to governance
  • Inquiring and what could be..
  • Trust and Verify
  • Annual review of board business and skills

  • Core skills of good governance
  • An environment that enables robust debate
    effective team working
  • Listening skills
  • Asking powerful questions
  • The architecture of questions-
  • Construction
  • Scope
  • Assumptions

A powerful question
  • Generates curiosity
  • Stimulates reflective discussion
  • Is thought provoking
  • Surfaces underlying assumptions
  • Invites creativity and new possibilities
  • Generates energy and movement
  • Evokes more questions

  • Governance questions
  • Ones that can
  • Link the discussion to the overarching strategy
    or performance indicator
  • Test assumptions
  • Test the systemic impact of a decision on the
  • Make connections between financial or resource
    decisions and the impact on teaching learning
    and assessment
  • Validate the decision
  • Evaluate the impact of actions
  • Identify areas of risk
  • Invite the board to consider an alternative
  • Identify an area for development
  • Generate a future scenario
  • .................................................
    ....and so on

An Effective Board asks all these sorts of
questions to balance support and
challenge Strategy Stretch Scrutiny Support Stewa
FE Commissioner
  • College governors must take greater ownership
    of their college, driving the strategic direction
    forward and challenging the Principal and senior
    leadership team on the quality of teaching and
    learning and the institutes financial position.
  • 15 days

FE Commissioner
  • Good relationships between governors and the
  • Governors triangulating data to verify reports
  • Succession planning new and fresh thinking on a
    regular basis
  • Keeping governors fit for purpose

  • Clarity
  • Connectivity
  • Confidence
  • Complacency ( lack of)
  • Consistency
  • Cohesion
  • Challenge
  • Creativity
  • Celebration
  • Care

  • Financial forecasts, not for the first time, are
    significantly different to the actual outturn
  • Management accounts show significant swings from
    month to month or large variationsfrom the
    summer to the end of year
  • Borrowing as a percentage of turn over exceeds
    60 (40 would seem to be areasonable affordable
  • Staff costs are in excess of 65 of turnover
    (Circa 60 would be a reasonable target)
  • Creditor days are in excess of 45-60 at any one

  • Board papers are late or tabled
  • Data provision and management information are
    poor and the Board does not receive aregular Key
    Performance Indicator (KPI) dashboard of relevant
  • A mid-morning walk around finds a high number of
    empty classrooms and class sizesbelow 15

Quality Improvement
  • Average student attendance rates are below
  • Success rates (Retention Achievement) are 5
    below benchmark and not improving
  • Teacher observation grades of good or better,
    independently verified, are below 80
  • Student surveys/focus groups show levels of
    satisfaction below 90
  • Quality Improvement plans or post inspection
    action plans do not state clearly for each issue
    the college's starting position, the targeted
    outcome, actions that will be taken to achieve
    that outcome, milestones along the way,
    monitoring arrangements and the individual
    responsible for overseeing delivery.

  • Board members are generally discouraged from
    formally meeting and discussing thecollege's
    performance with students and staff
  • Minutes and ensuing actions from senior
    management team meetings are notpublished or do
    not cover the key issues faced by the college
    (e.g. financial health andquality improvement)
  • Restructuring is an annual rather than an
    occasional occurrence
  • Increasing levels of sub-contracting are being
    used to cover shortfalls in recruitment
  • The college does not know the destinations of
    more than 10 of its students

Task 2
  • Using the list, assess your college. Score out of
  • What questions are created by this assessment?

Creating Excellence
  • Dealing with the right things, asking powerful
    questions and have the right balance between
    challenge and support.
  • Expected to horizon scan to ensure long term
    sustainability and be responsible for public
    accountability, serving the public good and
    ensuring high standards.
  • Able to demonstrate corporate agility

Creating Excellence
  • Too much or too little information can be a
    significant risk to a board functioning
  • Paper-base intelligence can take a board only so
    far needs a sophisticated blend of soft and
    hard evidence
  • Are you getting the right information to address
    your strategic priorities?

Reflective questions
  • Do I have the level of understanding needed to
    ask searching questions of senior managers?
  • Am I provided with structured, accurate and
    up-to-date performance information that relates
    to strategy?
  • Do I understand the local and national
    environment within which the college is
  • Do I analyse and reflect on my own performance,
    both as a member of the team and as individual
    board member and have a commitment to my ongoing
  • What is my role in relation to Teaching, Learning
    and Assessment, and challenge?
  • Where does the assurance come from that all
    strategic issues are on track, or factored in to
    future planning?
  • Do I and the governing body drill down where
    necessary into the assurances given by senior

Task 3
  • Individual review

Ofsteds view of common features of outstanding
  • Governors who
  • Understood their roles and responsibilities
  • Set a clear strategic direction and vision
  • Were well informed
  • Challenged managers vigorously on college
  • Set demanding targets
  • Monitored progress against them vigorously
  • Were well served by strong and independent clerks
  • Ensured productive partnerships and collaborative
    arrangements were identified which benefited
  • Ensured strong links with employers, industry and
    the local community
  • Were willing to be rigorous in realigning the
    curriculum and cutting courses

Ofsted - A good board will
  • use insight and understanding to set the
    long-term vision
  • set aspirational but realistic goals
  • champion learners, commit to provide a high
    quality learner experience
  • not be complacent
  • be enterprising and open minded
  • work as one body, not as individuals
  • build open trusting relationships with the
    Principal and SMT
  • be challenging and supportive
  • resist any temptation to manage!
  • hold senior officers to account

Outstanding - Swindon College
  • The colleges strategic priorities are sensible,
    clearly focused and provide a good template
    against which progress can be evaluated.
    Governors receive comprehensive reports from
    senior managers on key aspects of the colleges
    performance, and are increasingly adept at
    interpreting these reports to ask searching
    questions of college leaders. Governors recognise
    their responsibility for monitoring all aspects
    of learners experience, and are improving their
    understanding by touring teaching areas while
    lessons are taking place.

Walsall College - Outstanding
  • Governors are very well informed and provide
    excellent support to senior leaders. They ask the
    right questions to ensure managers are
    sufficiently held to account and their skills and
    experience are very well matched to the
    developing needs of the college. Governors
    meticulously monitor outcomes for learners and
    the quality of teaching, learning and assessment
    across the college.

Outstanding -Blackpool and Fylde College
  • Governance is outstanding. Governors are
    particularly effective in ensuring that that the
    college is led and managed well. The college
    benefits from the governors wide range of skills
    and experience in education and business.
    Governors know the college well. They receive
    regular and appropriately detailed reports on the
    colleges performance, and this enables them to
    support and challenge the leadership team
    successfully. Governors are involved very
    actively in the life of the college. For example,
    the chair listens to discussions at student
    forums and quarterly, wider management events
    when the colleges strategy is debated. Governors
    undertake a wide range of relevant training that
    enhances their ability to undertake their role

Outstanding - Exeter College
  • Governors provide excellent support and
    challenge to senior leaders. They possess an
    exceptional wealth of relevant expertise and
    comprehensively represent the interests of the
    region and local community. Governors take a
    leading role in setting and reviewing the
    strategy, financial priorities and improvement
    objectives. They hold leaders to account and
    ensure that the college has the capacity to
    continue to improve.

Outstanding - Weston College
  • Governors know the college well, are very
    involved in its life and very well informed about
    the learners. They support leaders constructively
    and challenge when appropriate. They ensure
    leaders and managers continue to strive for
    excellence and success for learners based firmly
    on excellent teaching and assessment. Governors
    involve their learner representatives
    effectively, and both listen to, and act on, the
    views of learners.

Outstanding colleges share some of the following
  • forward-looking governors and senior management
    teams sharing a clear vision and direction with a
    genuinely collaborative approach
  • strong governance and accountability - governors
    are skilled and ask discerning questions
  • governance, leadership and management are seen by
    staff as very decisive, prompt and effective in
    taking action
  • engagement with staff is genuine and leads to
    sustainable changes rather than short-term quick
    fixes which are imposed

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and
Administrators in 2009 -- best practice
boardroom behaviour being characterised by
  • a clear understanding of the role of the board
  • the appropriate deployment of knowledge, skills,
    experience and judgement
  • independent thinking
  • the questioning of assumptions and established
  • challenge which is constructive, confident,
    principled and proportionate
  • rigorous debate
  • a supportive decision-making environment
  • a common vision
  • the achievement of closure on individual items of
    board business.

Higgs Review of NEDs
  • Successful NEDs demonstrate
  • A degree of self knowledge they know who they
    are and how they are perceived by others.
  • Team spirit, with low ego and a desire to make
    others successful rather than themselves.
  • Strong and effective relationship management
    skills. Being an NED is a unique role. You come
    together a few times a year with people from
    different backgrounds, agendas and styles and
    need to be able to fit in quickly and contribute

  • Ease and comfort in handling ambiguity
  • Self confident style yet ability to demonstrate
  • Willingness to take the tough decisions
  • Lack of embarrassment about asking the simple
  • Patience and the ability to seed and water and

  • Intelligence, incisiveness and an ability to
    identify the key issues and priorities quickly
  • Financial literacy and good analytical skills
    based on data and fact combined with an
    experienced sense of smell
  • Ability to independently balance the challenge
    and supportive nature of the role

  • Ability to think strategically
  • Brains - strong analytical skills and the
    ability to understand complex issues
  • Bravery strong in questioning and perseverance
    if not happy with the response
  • Balance be pragmatic, the world is not a
    perfect place
  • And know what not to do..

New Code of Governance
  • Formulate and agree the mission and strategy
    including defining the ethos of the college.
  • Be collectively accountable for the business of
    the college taking all decisions on all matters
    within their duties and responsibilities.
  • Ensure there are effective underpinning policies
    and systems, which facilitate the student voice.
  • Foster exceptional teaching and learning.
  • Ensure that the college is responsive to
    workforce trends by adopting a range of
    strategies for engaging with employers and other

  • 6. Adopt a financial strategy and funding plans
    which are compatible with the duty to ensure
    sustainability and solvency of the college.
  • 7. Ensure that effective control and due
    diligence takes place in relation to all matters
    including acquisitions, subcontracting and
    partnership activity.
  • 8. Meet and aim to exceed its statutory
    responsibilities for equality and diversity.
  • 9. Ensure that there are organised and clear
    governance and management structures, with
    well-understood delegations.
  • 10.Regularly review governance performance and

Reflective questions
  • What are you holding SLT to account for?
  • How do you prioritise your responsibilities? Do
    you take a risk based approach to what you spend
    your time on?
  • How do you use the expertise of the board and
    hold each other to account?
  • How do you regularly monitor the performance of
    the college? What do you ask for to verify your
    trust in the senior team?
  • How well do you understand the whole college
    performance and the impact of each part on the
    learner experience?
  • In your college's current position, how well do
    you balance scrutiny, challenge and support?
  • How do you verify the data and reports and
    'touch' the learner experience?
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